The 49ers offensive line is a mixture of veterans and touted second-year players but with a new offense being installed everyone has a learning curve. We all saw last week against the Saints the difficulties of implementing the offense on the field with missed blocking assignments and blitz pickups by the O-line. In the 17-3 win over the Raiders on Saturday night the 49ers O-line played extremely better against a good defensive line. This allowed the 49ers offense to rush for 239 yards and averaged 5.7 yards per carry. What a difference a week makes.
The 49ers rushing offense looked like a three-headed beast with Frank Gore rushing for 21 yards, rookie Kendal Hunter 105 yards, which included a 53-yard TD run and Anthony Dixon 53 yards. Fourth string running back Xavier Omon added 62 rushing yards late in the game. With the 49ers establishing a running game and the offensive line picking up their blocking assignments, Alex Smith was able sit in the pocket comfortably and went through his progressions. Smith looked more confident on his passes with the most impressive one being a one-handed, 32-yard grab to wide receiver Braylon Edwards. The pass was a bullet from Smith. With the one-handed grab Edwards showed Niner fans he is still cable of making hard catches. Niner fans have been waiting for a number one receiver since Terrell Owens left the team. Injured WR Michael Crabtree was suppose to be that number one receiver but has yet to impress.
With Smith throwing 8 for 13 with 126 passing yards and rookie Colin Kaepernick throwing 6 for 8 with 52 passing yards the two quarterbacks looked better in Harbaugh’s offense but both still has lots of room for improvement. Smith did not throw for a touchdown and only managed 3 points in the first-half. Smith’s interception on the second drive after moving the offense 45 yards showed he still has a knack for making mistakes. Smith was trying to throw to tight end Vernon Davis downfield but Smith did not see Raiders defensive end Matt Shaughnessy dropping back 10 yard into coverage. Smith’s eyes were only on Davis and he should have recognized the 6-5, 270 pound D-lineman in coverage. Jim Harbaugh’s offense took a step in the right direction against the Raiders and it seems the offense is getting better as each week goes by.